Hitchens's razor

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Hitchens's razor is an epistemological razor asserting that the burden of proof regarding the truthfulness of a claim lies with the one who makes the claim; if this burden is not met, the claim is unfounded and its opponents need not argue further in order to dismiss it. It is named, echoing Occam's razor, for the journalist and writer Christopher Hitchens, who, in a 2003 Slate article, formulated it thus: "What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence."[1][2] The dictum also appears in God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, a book by Hitchens published in 2007.[3]

Hitchens's razor is actually an English translation of the Latin proverb "Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur" ("what is freely asserted is freely dismissed"), which was commonly used in the 19th century.[4][5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hitchens, Christopher (20 October 2003). "Mommie Dearest". Slate. Retrieved 24 April 2016. 
  2. ^ McGrattan, Cillian (2016). The Politics of Trauma and Peace-Building: Lessons from Northern Ireland. Abingdon: Routledge. p. 2. ISBN 978-1138775183. 
  3. ^ Hitchens, Christopher (2007). God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. New York, NY: Twelve Books. p. 150. ISBN 978-1843545743. 
  4. ^ Reinhardt, Damion (25 July 2015). "The Long History of Hitchens' Razor". Skeptic Ink. Retrieved 31 March 2017. 
  5. ^ Jon R. Stone, The Routledge Dictionary of Latin Quotations (2005), p. 101.